So much of human thinking is irrational. This kind of messed-up thinking, often referred to as cognitive distortion, perceives reality in ways that are misleading or flawed, if not completely wrong, false, or stupid. (Examples follow below and more are found here.)
Irrationality floods our mind in the first years of life, so its staying power shouldn’t surprise us. The young child has to deal with pronounced self-centeredness, aggression, passivity, and baby fears. The child’s mental and emotional life is also confounded by the trauma of weaning, ambivalence, moral reproach, the threat of punishment, toilet training, the limits of brain power, the inability to frame situations on the basis of experience, the ups and downs of what is pleasant and unpleasant, and various other demands of necessary socialization.
In addition, a child soon starts to experience guilt and shame, along with a litany of what’s forbidden to see, exhibit, feel, and talk about. Much of this mental and emotional disorder remains in the adult psyche in the form of inner conflict and cognitive distortion.
Overcoming cognitive distortion is the primary aim of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is America’s leading product in the mental-health marketplace. Yet CBT’s methodology just skims the surface. Depth psychology, in contrast, penetrates into the source of this distortion. This article offers readers a chance to understand cognitive distortion from the different points of view of these two methodologies. [Read more…]